lurkitty: (Pogo)
[personal profile] lurkitty
I am keeping an eye on Myanmar. Something of great, but ultimately harsh beauty is occurring. Buddhist monks have lead a peaceful protest march across the country, formerly known as Burma, in opposition to a crackdown by the ruling military junta.

The ranks of the march have swelled to in excess of 100,000, some reporting 150,000.
Over 10,000 monks met and prayed with political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday. Sources report, however, that she was transferred to Insein prison on Sunday.

The last time such a protest was launched, in 1988, the Burmese government opened fire on the protesters, killing three thousand or more.

Curfews have now been imposed on the cities of Rangoon and Mandalay. The government is threatening the use of military force to break up the protest.

Some fear that soldiers will repeat a trick used in the past; shaving their heads and masquerading as monks, they will start throwing bricks at government forces, giving soldiers the excuse they need to open fire once again.

The lesson from Myanmar is one of fierce grace. The protesters know they may die in this attempt, but democracy is so precious to them that hundreds of thousands are willing to die in the attempt to attain it.

We in the United States are so fearful of dying that we have allowed our government to erode our democracy to the extent that we sit idly by as a student gets tasered for speaking his mind, that we sheepishly allow the government to collect records on what we read, who we call, who we sit next to on a plane, what we carry in our suitcases and where we go. We allow our government to declare anyone, even a citizen, an enemy combatant without benefit of trial and strip them of the most basic constitutional right, that of habeus corpus.

How do we, as a country, lose our complacency and reclaim the idea of democracy as something to die for? Our soldiers have certainly internalized this ideal. It's time we rose to our duty as well, as have the monks of Myanmar.
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lurkitty

August 2011

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